Facebook and Twitter are yet to prove popular in the office for business communication

Although our use of paper in the office is declining a survey has revealed that 88 percent of finance professionals still see e-mail as the best form of business communication despite the rise of social media.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

The survey was carried out by global business automation software provider V1. It explored variations on how different generations prefer to receive information.

Image:Wikimedia Commons

Respondents were asked to classify themselves by their generation as either baby boomers (born in the 1940s and 50s), Generation X (born in the 60s and 70s) or Generation Y (80s and 90s).

Findings revealed some notable similarities in attitudes and trends to digital communications between the age groups.

All generations selected e-mail as the preferred choice for receiving information, with each scoring social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook as being of low importance. All age groups rated Facebook and Twitter as their two least preferred methods of business communication.

Despite the rapid rise of social media, 88 percent of IT and finance professionals still rate e-mail as the best way to receive business information, while the popularity of paper in the office appears to be declining.

Older employees rated Twitter as the least important with 56 percent giving the social media platform the lowest score possible, and 55 percent scoring likewise for Facebook.

Generation Y also ranked Facebook as their least popular channel, with 53 percent giving it a low score. The youngest employees were also most likely to give paper a low rating, (42 percent) followed by 33 percent of Generation X and 31 percent of baby boomers. 

Catherine Murphy, Head of Marketing at V1, said: "While the e-mail is the clear choice for most finance professionals in terms of how they receive information, preferences are less clear cut when it comes to other forms of communication.

"Perhaps most revealing is attitudes towards social media – it seems across the generations many employees still have a reluctance to receiving information via social media channels.

"Not surprisingly, the research sample confirms that paper is in decline. Just 20 years ago it was an office essential, yet in less than two decades it has been overtaken by email."

The research also revealed a number of other IT trends differentiating the generations. For instance, baby boomers spend an average of 90 minutes online for business purposes, with an additional 57 minutes a day for social use.

For Generation X, the figures were 140 minutes for business, and 55 for social; while Generation Y spend 167 minutes a day online for business purposes, and 107 minutes for non-business.

Generation X were most likely to have a LinkedIn account (56 percent). This suggests that they may see networking as more important than any other generation. Generation Y workers were the least likely to use LinkedIn, at 42 percent compared with 47 percent of the boomers.

Generation Y, at 56 percent were the biggest users of Facebook, followed by Generation X (39 percent). Baby boomers at 28 percent were least likely to use it.

Overall, Twitter was the least popular of the social media platforms, Respondents in the Generation X age group had the highest number of users at 28 percent, Generation Y users were second with 22 percent of respondents using it. Baby boomers used the platform the least at 19 percent.

Added Murphy: "The research clearly points to younger workers using the Internet most, which suggests that the office of the future will become increasingly reliant on technology as Generation Y workers mature into the decision makers of tomorrow.

"As technology moves forward, driven by the mobile boom and the likes of 4G, businesses growing reliance on IT and digital media is likely to increase rapidly in the years ahead.

"The results show show that younger generations are the biggest technology users, and we expect this trend to continue."

These results indicate that we still not have fully embraced Facebook or Twitter — despite the best attempts of both organisations to prove their credibility in the business space.

As business decision makers continue to shun these platforms are their continued efforts making any headway in the real world of work?

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